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Computer Journal
Year: 2009  |  Volume: 52  |  Issue: 5  |  Page No.: 571 - 588

Generating Structurally Complex Test Cases By Data Mutation: A Case Study Of Testing An Automated Modelling Tool

L Shan and H. Zhu    


Generation of adequate test cases is difficult and expensive, especially for testing software systems whose input is structurally complex. This paper presents an approach called data mutation to generating a large number of test data from a few seed test cases. It is inspired by mutation testing methods, but differs from them in the aim and the way that mutation operators are defined and used. While mutation testing is a method for measuring test adequacy, data mutation is a method of test case generation. In traditional mutation testing, mutation operators are used to transform the program under test. In contrast, mutation operators in our approach are applied on input data to generate test cases, hence called data mutation operators. The paper reports a case study with the method on testing an automated modelling tool to illustrate the applicability of the proposed method. Experiment data clearly demonstrate that the method is adequate and cost effective, and able to detect a large proportion of faults.

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